Pocket Prayer :: Pennies :: Breath Prayers

Loose Change, it can add up more than you expect it to. This prayer practice is Breath Prayers: simple, silent prayers that are short enough to ponder on a breath in and out.

When we discussed this at our Mums’ Bible Study, we found that many of us had short mantra-like prayers that we used already: ‘give me strength’; ‘go before me God’; ‘help God’. Others used song lyrics in a similar way.

Examples of Breath Prayers

– Jesus Christ, have mercy on me

– In you we live and work and have our beings

– Be still and know that I am God

– Father God, I Belong to you (attributed to Brennan Manning)

– Jesus, let me feel your love.

When we did the following exercise I reflected on Psalm 131, a personal favourite of mine because of the imagery of God as Mother. The breath prayer I came up with was ‘Mother God, I am held by you’. I have reached for this little phrase often when words have been hard to find.

You could also tie an object or activity to remind you to pray your breath prayer, and turn your heart towards God. Set yourself a prompt to help make this a habit: the loose change, a cup of tea, waiting for the bus, going down the stairs, holding your child’s hand, whatever works for you.

Breath Prayer Exercise

– Close your eyes and recall the line “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). Be still, calm, peaceful, open to the presence of God.

– Choose a favourite bible verse and make a short phrase of about 6-8 syllables.

– Select the name that you are most comfortable using to speak with God. Combine it with your written answer or verse. This is your prayer.

– Breathe in the first phrase/word (generally your invocation of God’s name) and breathe out the second phrase/word.

The Gravity Center has an excellent article about breath prayer, which inspired the above. They also have lots of great resources and practices for living a life of contemplative activism.

This post is part of our Pocket Prayers series.

2 thoughts on “Pocket Prayer :: Pennies :: Breath Prayers

  1. I found this vey encouraging. I remember being introduced to breath prayers some time ago and liked that but through time drifted away from it. I sometimes struggle in prayer times to stay focussed and contribute in group prayer times and it has been on my mind for some time to find a way through this small hurdle. Therefore I found your post a signpost to me to bring back breath prayers and get into the habit of using this to help me over the little hurdle that often stops me progressing into prayer. Blessings to you.

    1. Thanks Allan, I’m so glad it was helpful for you. I think finding these simple ways to turn our hearts towards God make prayer easier to reach for. Debbie

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